COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — For three student-athletes at Calvary Christian School (CCS), it was a momentous afternoon. Seniors Regan Hutchinson, Jacob Romo and Malachi Chestnut all signed on to join NCAA Division II teams at Columbus State University (CSU).
“It’s really exciting. I didn’t think I’d be signing a year ago, and now I’m signing for a sport that I wasn’t planning on doing a year ago,” said Romo, who joined the cheer team in his senior year.
The athlete explained he wanted to try doing every sport he could in his senior year, after already being part of two state champion teams as a CCS baseball player. He chose to participate in cheer on the recommendation of a friend and the rest was history.
“I enjoyed it so much that I ended up not doing baseball my senior year and wanted to grow and cheer and go as far as I could,” said Romo.
Hutchinson, also a cheerleader, was enthusiastic about a collegiate cheer career as well.
“It feels really good,” said Hutchinson. “I’ve really wanted to do this.”
As a founding member of CCS’s competitive cheer team, Hutchinson was part of two state champion and two runner-up teams. According to CCS cheer coach Maegan Loyd, Hutchinson has always been a hard worker.
“She was always willing to learn and try anything I placed before her,” said Loyd in her remarks before the students officially signed onto their respective teams. The coach described how Hutchinson quickly became one of CCS’ point flyers after joining the program, despite never trying it before. Loyd also said Romo’s leadership skills are unparalleled.
Chestnut’s basketball coach Jay Sparks also had nothing but praise for the athlete.
“Malachi is better than a good player, he’s an extraordinary player,” said Sparks, who joined on as CCS’s head basketball coach this school year. He told the audience Chestnut reached an unheard-of milestone of 1000 points scored across his career this year and was exceptional at all phases of basketball, including dribbling, rebounding, jumping and passing.
Previously, Sparks was an athletic director and coach at CSU, as well as at Brookstone School. Sparks was also a key component in creating CSU’s women’s basketball team more than 30 years ago.
According to Chestnut, he wasn’t sure about college athletics until three years ago, so signing today was especially meaningful. He also knew exactly who to credit for his success.
“My family for sure. They always encouraged me. Always showed up to every game,” said Chestnut. He added with a smile, “I don’t think there’s not a single game they haven’t showed up.”
With eyes toward the future, the student-athletes have a variety of potential careers ahead of them. While Hutchinson said she hopes to become a doctor, Romo told WRBL he hopes to pursue a degree in communications with the goal of eventually becoming a sports announcer. Chestnut disclosed he plans to study engineering.
Chestnut’s advice to others?
“Just do what you are passionate about.”